Current Affairs – March 18, 2021 [Today’s News Headlines]

Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for March 18, 2021

India

Government’s telemedicine service ‘eSanjeevani’ completes 3 million consultations

Govt. of India’s National Telemedicine Service – eSanjeevani has crossed another milestone by completing 3 million (30 lakh) consultations. Launched by the Ministry of Health & Family, the National Telemedicine Service is currently operational in 31 States/Union Territories and daily over 35,000 patients across the country are using this innovative digital medium to seek health services.

Ministry of Women and Child Development celebrating Poshan Pakhwada

Ministry of Women and Child Development is celebrating Poshan Pakhwada from March 16 to 31, 2021. Addressing nutritional challenges through Food Forestry and organizing Poshan Panchayats are the key focus areas for Poshan Pakhwada 2021. To address nutritional challenges, distribution of 4 saplings of nutrition rich plants per Anganwadi Centre (AWC) in the Aspirational Districts will be done under the supervision of local panchayat and DM/DC by National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Ministry of AYUSH.

Health Minister appointed Chairman of Stop TB Partnership Board

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan has been appointed as the Chairman of the international body Stop TB Partnership Board which is a unique international body with the power to align actors all over the world in the fight against TB. He will serve a three-year term, commencing from July 2021.

BJP leader and former Union Minister Dilip Gandhi dies at 69

BJP leader and former Union Minister Dilip Gandhi died at a hospital in New Delhi on March 17, 2021. He was 69. Gandhi had served as the Minister of State for Shipping in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led central government. The BJP leader had won the Lok Sabha elections three times since 1999 from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra.

BJP MP from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh Ram Swaroop Sharma (62) dies

BJP MP from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh Ram Swaroop Sharma was found hanging from the ceiling in his official residence in New Delhi on March 17, 2021. The 62-year old MP was elected to the 16th and 17th Lok Sabha from Mandi parliamentary constituency in 2014 and 2019 respectively.

Book titled “Battle Ready for 21st Century” released at CLAWS

A book titled “Battle Ready for 21st Century” co-edited by Lt Gen AK Singh, Distinguished Fellow CLAWS and Brig Narender Kumar, Visiting Fellow CLAWS was released by Gen Bipin Rawat, CDS and Gen Deepak Kapoor, Former Chief of the Army Staff at Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), New Delhi on March 17, 2021.

IAF’s MiG-21 Bison aircraft crashes at an airbase in central India, pilot dies

A Group Captain of the Indian Air Force was killed in an accident involving a MiG-21 Bison aircraft at an airbase in central India on March 27, 2021. The accident took place when the aircraft was taking off for a combat training mission.

Baby born aboard Bengaluru-Jaipur flight of IndiGo

A baby girl was born mid-air aboard an IndiGo flight from Bengaluru to Jaipur on March 17, 2021. Dr. Subhana Nazir, a fellow passenger, helped deliver the baby. “Jaipur airport was immediately informed to arrange for a doctor and an ambulance on arrival. Both the baby and the mother are stable.

Economy & Corporate

Govt forms experts committee for Startup India Seed Fund Scheme

The government has constituted an experts advisory committee which will be responsible for the overall execution and monitoring of the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme. According to an office memorandum of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), the committee will evaluate and select incubators for allotment of funds under the scheme, monitor progress and take all necessary measures for efficient utilisation of funds towards fulfilment of objectives of the scheme.

PNB incorporates PNB Cards & Services for credit card business

Public sector lender Punjab National Bank on March 17, 2021 said it has incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary, PNB Cards & Services Limited, which will deal with the banks’ non-financial support services related to its credit card business. It is important to note that among public sector banks, State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, has a separate arm for its card business — SBI Cards and Payment Services.

Carlyle Group sells 4.3% stake in SBI Cards and Payment Services

US-based private equity firm Carlyle Group on March 17, 2021 sold 4.3 per cent stake (40 million shares) in SBI Cards and Payment Services via block deals. The shares sold at Rs 986 apiece, fetching Carlyle Rs 3,944 crore. The buyers are not known yet. Following the latest share sale, Carlyle’s holding in SBI Cards has dropped to 11.6 per cent.

Indian Oil, Israel’s Phinergy set up JV to manufacture batteries for EVs

State-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Israeli battery developer Phinergy on March 17, 2021 formalised a joint venture to manufacture ultra-lightweight metal-air batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), a venture that got its first customers in Maruti Suzuki and Ashok Leyland. The equal joint venture will replace lithium with aluminum to make batteries that will charge faster and give a longer run.

TRP scam case: ED attaches assets worth Rs 32 cr of three TV channels

Enforcement Directorate on March 17, 2021 attached immovable and movable properties worth Rs. 32 crores of television channels Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema and Maha Movie in connection with the money laundering probe into the TRP scam. The immovable and movable properties are in the form of land, commercial and residential units in Mumbai, Indore, Delhi and Gurgaon and balances in bank account.

World

Inflation-stricken Venezuela rolls out new, larger-denomination banknotes

Venezuela week is rolling out larger-denomination banknotes as hyperinflation batters the crisis-stricken South American country’s bolivar currency. Bills worth 2,00,000 and 5,00,000 bolivars — worth just 10 and 27 U.S. cents, respectively, at the current exchange rate — began to circulate on March 15, 2021. Annual inflation in the once-prosperous OPEC nation was running at 2,665% in January, contributing to chronic shortages of cash.

French Parliament votes to include climate change clause in constitution

The lower house of the French parliament, the National Assembly, on March 16, 2021 voted in favor of amending the country’s constitution with provisions that include climate and biodiversity protection. The 391-47 vote on the climate bill marks the first step towards a referendum on the constitutional amendment.

EU blacklists Chinese officials for human rights abuses against Uighur minority

The European Union (EU) has agreed to blacklist Chinese officials for human rights abuses against Uighur Muslim minority. It is the first sanctions against Beijing since an EU arms embargo in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square crackdown. The 1989 EU arms embargo on China, its second-largest trade partner, is still in place. EU ambassadors approved the travel bans and asset freezes on four Chinese individuals and one entity on March 17, 2021. While the sanctions are mainly symbolic, the adoption marks a significant hardening in the EU’s policy towards China.

Tanzania: President John Magufuli dies in capital Dar es Salaam at the age of 61

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli died in capital Dar es Salaam on March 17, 2021 at the age of 61. Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan will be sworn in as the new president and should serve the remainder of Magufuli’s five-year team which he began in 2020. While a date for her swearing in has not yet been announced, she will be Tanzania’s first female president.

Sixth India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Women’s Forum meeting held virtually

The Sixth India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Women’s Forum meeting was held virtually on March 16, 2021. During the consultation, the Forum discussed key issues that contribute towards the transformation of women’s lives. The India-Brazil-South Africa Trilateral Cooperation Forum is a unique platform which brings together India, Brazil and South Africa, three large democracies and major economies from three different continents.

India signs contracts to develop Water Supply and Sewerage network in Maldives

Contracts to develop Water Supply and Sewerage network across 34 islands of the Maldives were signed on March 17, 2021. The contracts were signed between the Ministry of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure and JMC Projects (India) Ltd., SMC Infrastructures Pvt. Ltd., Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd. and Vishvaraj Environment Pvt. Ltd. The tendering process for the project was undertaken by Ministry of Finance, Government of Maldives.

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